Poetry: Selections from Mark Tulin

Fascist Wedding

I went to a relative’s wedding
that should have never happened
Two white fascists tying the knot,
a noose around the world’s neck,
choking off our air supply
That’s all we need,
two morons making babies
who think alike,
and bleed society
of its vital organs
I wanted to gift them something
to encourage sensitivity,
like The Selected Poetry of Leonard Cohen
but gave them a fancy blender instead,
too afraid to reveal my true intention.

The Needle Jab

waiting for my needle jab
I have my sleeves rolled up
my eyes closed tight
my upper arm held out
the barrel loaded
plunger ready
the syringe aimed for fire
the nurse flicks the saber
X marks the spot
the needle goes in cleanly
no fainting
no convulsing

no birth defects
no protesting pandemic restrictions
no insurrection
just a needle saving my life.

Free Floating Anxiety

I’m at loose ends
when the world
is not going my way
I have free-floating anxiety
that shadows me wherever I am
and corrupts my peace of mind
like a cloud of black smoke
hovering over my head
that tells me something is wrong
that the world will end
I will lose everything
Chaos will reign

but then it goes away
when I focus on other things
and comes back unexpectedly.

1954 Black and White Photo

Dressed in a mohair coat,
a suit and tie, and a Fedora,
my father posed for a Polaroid
on top of the Empire State Building
My parent’s on their honeymoon,
before my first breath,
before the sun shined in my eyes
and I discovered a moon in the sky
Before my world became a Tonka truck,
a snowsuit with mittens attached,
a three-wheel bike with streamers,
and a case of Celiac
I never thought an old photo
would have so much value
Until I saw myself
in the memory of my father.

Disability of the Spirit

The missionary startled me,
by laying hands on my head
because he believed my handicap
was a sin and that my cerebral palsy
was due to not praying
He called my handicap,
a disability of the spirit,
and that I’m being punished
by the righteous one
And he gave me a brochure,
with a white crucifixion cross,
and said if I attend church on Sunday,
I’d be saved
Saved from what? I asked
He said, from Satan
I told him to take Satan and go to hell,
and prayed he took my advice.

Mark Tulin is a former family therapist who lives in Palm Springs, California. A publisher compared his work to artist Edward Hopper on how he grasps unusual aspects of people’s lives. His books include Magical Yogis, Awkward Grace,The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories, Junkyard Souls, and Rain on Cabrillo. His work has been featured in Ariel Chart, Amethyst Review, The Poetry Village, The Junction, Fiction on the Web, Page and Spine, Vita Brevis Press, and Scrittura. He is also a Pushcart and Best of Drabble nominee. 


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